If you’re just starting college, choosing a major is a decision that puts a lot of pressure on you. Without a doubt, it’s a choice that can have a huge impact on your life after school. It can also determine the kind of college experience you’ll have while you’re at college. Unless you want to spend lots of dough to be miserable and frustrated for four years, picking the right major is something you should take the time to do correctly. That said, just because it’s an important decision, doesn’t mean it has to be a one fraught with anxiety. Here are some thoughts on how to take the stress out of choosing a major.
Put It Off
If you’re starting school with very little idea of what career you’d like to pursue (like the majority of students), it doesn’t make sense to force yourself to pick a major right away. Plus, most schools don’t require you to choose until your sophomore year and some even later than that. If you need the time to explore different fields, take it. Many schools have core curriculums that are required to graduate anyway, so you could just focus on those when you start. It may be that one of those classes will guide you toward an area of study you hadn’t yet considered. Taking some extra time before making a decision about your major is a phenomenal way to stop worrying about a deadline and start thinking about what you like.
Do Your Research
The more you know about something, the less it scares you. If you have an idea of a few different majors you might like, learn every single thing you can about them. Say you’re looking at a major in human resources from Hofstra University. What classes are required? Who teaches them? Does your university have relationships with companies in that field that could offer you post-grad opportunities? Will you be able to find work right out of school, or will you need to pursue a graduate degree like a master’s in organizational development or another more specific area of expertise under the human resources umbrella? Knowing as much as you can about your different options will ultimately make you feel more secure about the decision you make and help you feel more empowered to make it.
Understand You Can Change It
You are far from a complete person when you start college. Your interests and passions will change as you grow, so even if you have a great idea of what you want to study, you could find yourself switching paths. It is totally fine to do that. It actually shows a good deal of maturity to know when something isn’t right for you and then to change it. If you need to pick a major sooner rather than later, but you still don’t know what will interest you, take solace in the fact that you can change tracks. No one has it all figured out, so think about your first major as a “try it and see what it’s like” period. Pay attention, do your best, learn everything you can, and if it doesn’t feel right, look elsewhere.